Miami Theater Center

9806 NE 2nd Avenue,
Miami Shores, FL 33161

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David_Schneider on November 1, 2018 at 12:09 pm

remkoolhaas, are the remnants you are referring to that of the Biscayne Park Theater in North Miami? Click here for the CT page I created for it. Where can I see your photos?

remkoolhaas on October 28, 2018 at 4:03 am

I Habsburg worked here and they have done a tremendous job restoring it. I have pics of the remenents of a theater after the hurricane of 1926. Does anybody know about that?

David_Schneider on September 27, 2018 at 2:43 pm

This theater is no longer an O Cinema location but is still the Miami Theater Center, focusing on theatrical performances for children and their families, and sometimes screening programs of family orientated films, meaning it is still technically an open movie theater.

I asked an employee at the original O Cinema in Wynwood who confirmed this, saying the change occurred about a year ago.

David_Schneider on June 26, 2016 at 4:38 pm

On June 5th, 2016 I visited O Cinema Miami Shores at the Miami Theater Center to attend a live presentation of “The Flick” — a play about a cinema’s employees performed in the theater’s aisles, seats, and projection booth, while the audience sits in a seating area set up on risers on the stage where the screen of the cinema portrayed in the story would be!

A few days before, as the Universe would have it, I felt I had completed my project of saying almost everything I’ve been wanting to say about movie theaters on Cinema Treasures — so when this play popped up about a movie theater performed within a movie theater, I just had to go to “celebrate”!

As I entered the usher explained that I’d be sitting on the stage, and that I could still reach the restroom during the performance by using the aisle along the wall, though the restrooms are part of the set. (No one tried during the show I saw.) With anticipation I took the program she handed me and said “Well, then I’m ‘ready for my close-up’”. “Okay, Mr. DeMille” she responded with a smile. : )

I enjoyed finding out what it feels like to be a movie screen when, as part of the play’s story, a probably simulated projector would cast its light upon the audience on the stage.

Another favorite part was a cinema patron who gazes up at “the screen”/above us and fantasizes about the movies for a moment after the one he came to see was over.

I also appreciated one character’s concern with traditional vs. digital projection.

This run of “The Flick” ended on June 12th. The running time was three hours (including an intermission), which felt somewhat long to me when the story would thematically linger upon the rut the characters’ lives are sort of stuck in, but if you love movie theaters you should consider going if it comes to a theater near you.

A Miami New Times article about this production:

Harvey: The open area in the back of the auditorium you mention in your March 27th, 2008 comment as “standing room” is still there between the last row of seats and the restrooms at the back wall. Something about the restrooms feels historic to me though they also look renovated. The “Men” and “Women” (Ladies?) signs above the doors look possibly original. I’ve never seen turnstiles when I’ve visited this theater and wonder if they are in a closet somewhere.

The box office shown in the older photo is no longer used and tickets are sold at a counter just inside the door on the right or sometimes at the concession stand farther in at the end of the lobby also on the right. (Too bad, I like being able to walk up to an old box office, but perhaps having it inside feels more secure?)

I enjoy visiting what to me still feels for the most part like a small town movie theater.

The storefront to the right of the cinema is also used for theatrical performances as part of the Miami Theater Center who calls it Sandbox, a black-box theater.

I found it interesting when I read somewhere that, before the movie theater could reopen fully as O Cinema, the Miami Shores Village Council had to repeal an ordinance against exhibiting films in the village left over from a time decades ago when it was felt the theater was attracting a “questionable” crowd.

Al Alvarez: Wow, you were the manager here in the late 1970’s during those “controversial” days?! … Regarding your comment from January 14th, 2006, I didn’t experience Miami Shores in the 70‘s, but now when I visit for O Cinema, there are, for example, a more or less equal number of African-American/Caribbean, Caucasian, and Hispanic customers in the Starbucks down the street, who I assume are local to the Miami Shores/El Portal area. I’ve never heard of the possibly racist “island community” concept you mention you had dealt with, so maybe the town has moved on.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 6, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Not sure what you are trying to say, Tony West. You may want to re-write that comment with some grammar. This theatre is now a speciality film first-run house.

Abwest on July 6, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Hello again, Tony west here if anyone would care to see my records and notes from way back I have them all tucked away safe I remember this one of my most wonderful executive director positions other than Miami design district prior everyone seems to forget of the team that set I to motion saving these Miami area landmarks. If anyone knows Linda Garcia famous. My former Adam assistant please tell her to contact we , she made history with me in the Miami area but seems not a soul wants to know about us and the facts. Thx. Tony. Miami: the Design District. One square Mile of Style.
Think Pink Miami design District. Did it all ……thx

Abwest on July 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Hello, Tony west. Here saved this theatre from 99cent slut showings to performing arts theatre in 1988. Sorry to see it is now a cheap last run movie house and the bing movie was NOT the first movie picture show that the I found the original movie and ran it in 1988 with the child star in parade that was the star. Know your facts my Adam assistant Linda Garcia Ramos will know also Ruth and also many others star stage production and we saved this 99 cent picture house anyone ever want to thank me I would welcome not heard a word from anyon in 27 years. Thanks. Hope u enjoy facts. Tony west.

decojunkie on October 13, 2012 at 11:39 am

This re-opens as a 350-seat single-screen indie house tonight. Opening fare is the same they opened with back in the 40’s — Blue Skies. If the photo in the article below is to be believed, the interior is Streamline Moderne. I don’t know if it’s original to the place, but at least it looks like it could be from that era.

Article on re-opening

Harvey on April 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm

March 1981 Miami News article with Nat Chediak about the Shores here.

Harvey on April 4, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Recently took in a 35mm screening of 1970’s Miami/Fort Lauderdale lensed DARKER THAN AMBER and during a pivotal scene (don’t want to spoil it for anyone), you can see the Shores marquee advertising MIDNIGHT COWBOY.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Shores theatre opens in 1946:

View link

Harvey on April 11, 2009 at 6:31 am

1987 photos of the Shores here and here.

Harvey on August 19, 2008 at 5:03 am

Looks like they finally 86’d the SHORES on the marquee. Google mapped it this morning and it’s officially the Playground theatre with a crappy marquee, so technically, it’s not even the Shores Theater anymore.

Look, I know progress and everything, but ugh….

spiderman2000s on May 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm

In addition to my comments(two years ago), I remember they would show The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturdays at midnight. After you passed the doors, black and white pictures of the movie was in glass display case on the right.

Harvey on March 27, 2008 at 11:08 pm

I used to go to the Disney movies here. I also remember seeing that weird ass THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD with my dad at the Shores. It always struck me as a oddly designed but interesting theatre because of all the standing room at the back of the hall, which was where the bathrooms were located. You’d walk out of the bathroom and boom, back in the theatre. Wonder if they kept the turnstiles?

awe4one on December 21, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Used to go frequently in the mid-late 70s/early 80s. Biggest theater in the North Miami area I believe and a really nice place to watch movies. Wasn’t doing well in the early 80s and started to play older movies. Saw a twin bill of 60s James Bond films there and it was just me and another guy.

The place used to also have kid summer club showings. These were quite fun when I was a kid…

spiderman2000s on April 15, 2006 at 11:11 am

Great theatre. I remember back in the early 80’s looking at “Silent Rage” which stars Chuck Norris and Swiss Family Robinson. Any more news on this theatre?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 14, 2006 at 10:15 am

As manager of this place in the late seventies I was subjected to constant harrassment from city hall, local churches, the local paper and even the police. Among the movies this “island community” tried to shut down were LAST TANGO IN PARIS, BLAZING SADDLES, NASTY HABITS, THE EXORCIST and SHAMPOO. No banning efforts were successful for obvious reasons and the latter wasn’t even playing at the time but the local stupidity was profound.

At the theatre we laughed off the “island community” slogan to mean “no Blacks, no Cubans”.

A sad chapter in the history of South Florida, Miami Shores was a racist vacuum of Christian fascists in the late seventies which destroyed this ABC Florida State theatre and forced it to close. The subsequent “arthouse” attempts were also undermined by a community that demanded Disney and then didn’t but then didn’t show up.

When I think of censorship killing a theatre, Miami Shores is never far away in my memory.

bornjaded on March 22, 2005 at 3:41 am

This is a charming, atmospheric little venue that shows some wear, but still offers some appealing art deco flavor.

I have not seen any live theater here, only films (within the past year), and while projection is decent, the sound system is horrible.

richsimone on February 7, 2003 at 5:07 pm

We recently found some information about the builders and architect for the Shores Theater. It was built by Dunning properties and designed by Harold Steward of the firm of Steward and Skinner, Architects. Construction began in 1942. Can anyone give me a clue where I could find more information about these companies. We really want to see the original blueprints of the building and get an idea of the interior details (including the missing wall sconces), so that we can restore it as faithfully as possible.